VR Might Let Us Drive Whatever We Want

It might be about time for people who are serious about the auto industry to start paying attention to virtual reality. Up to this point, some hesitation would have been understandable. Virtual reality has been a little bit underwhelming in the gaming and action arenas, primarily putting forth spins on – but not necessarily improvements upon – existing types of gaming. There are several different examples.

Shooters – VR developers are approaching FPS games in different ways (FPS standing for first person shooter), and no one’s quite landed on a jackpot just yet. Locomotion in FPS games can be jarring when in FPS, which has led some to develop what are called “rail shooters,” in which you move along a determined track, only moving your field of vision and controlling your gun. That, though, has left some gamers bored or uninspired. In short, some VR shooting games have been fun, but none have been groundbreaking, which is a disappointment when you consider the popularity of the genre.

Casino Games – Casino games have been designed in VR, but the trouble may be demand in this case. While it’s true that we’re always looking for more immersive experiences, casino games just don’t require virtual environments. People are attracted to poker tournaments online, and different themes in arcade and slot games. They spend time looking for casino bonuses that can basically give you free money to play with, rather than worrying about the 3D quality of a slot reel. It could be that VR will eventually hit – particularly where poker is concerned – but for now casino games seem to be doing just fine online, with VR adding little to the experience.

Character Games – Have you heard of Lucky’s Tale? It’s a good bet many readers haven’t, which is actually astounding given that just last year it was written that it could be Microsoft’s biggest VR game. The plan was for “Lucky,” a cartoon fox, to be a sort of foundational character for a VR franchise, in the vein of Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog. For now though, the idea of a character-based platform arcade for VR just doesn’t seem to have been a good enough fit to catch on.

Basically, they’re all fine, or capable of being fine. But none of these prominent types of games have produced anything special. Driving games can.

In a driving VR game, everything just makes a little more sense, because sitting at home and looking around in VR isn’t so very different from sitting in the driver’s seat and doing the same. As a result, driving games can be beautifully overwhelming, as one write-up with some gorgeous visual examples put it. It can feel truly immersive, and thus incredibly exciting, to race around in virtual reality. And even better, VR has the potential to allow us to drive any vehicle we could possibly want. That might mean old classics, modern racing vehicles, hybrid combinations of existing cars, or even future concept cars or flying machines. It’s just a matter of how creative developers want to get, because at this point we know that this, more than any other type of gaming, works in VR.

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